Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendations

Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendations

Postby Beck » Tue May 15, 2018 7:39 pm

I have read several threads outside this forum extolling the virtues of each cartridge and I am struggling with the choice between the two for my set up listed in my signature block. I have heard the Bronze and like the warmth it offers. Although I have not listened to the Black, I have listened to an A95 and I am aware of its detailed sound. The only anomaly with my system is low level groove noise that I hear in the dead wax that I cannot eliminate. I set up my VTA with a digital microscope and fine-tuned my system by ear and adjusted azimuth with a Fozgometer. My VTF is set at 1.70g and my dual pivot offsetting force is the same. I have a dedicated listening room with acoustical treatment. Thank you in advance for your thoughts and recommendations.
Last edited by Beck on Wed May 16, 2018 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Prime #16-67| Dual Pivot | Ortofon Cadenza Black | ADS | Ayre P-5xe phono preamp, K-5xe preamp, and V-5xe amp | Audio Sensibility Statement SE interconnects and Testament speaker cables | Magneplanar 3.7i | Mapleshade audio rack
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Re: Ortofon Cardenza Bronze v. Cardenza Black – recommendati

Postby Brf » Tue May 15, 2018 8:41 pm

No one listens to dead wax, therefore, don’t sweat the noise that it produces. Personally, I prefer the more detail offered by the Black over the Bronze. It would match and compliment your Ayre components very nicely.
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Re: Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendati

Postby Beck » Tue May 15, 2018 9:07 pm

Thank you for your response.
Last edited by Beck on Wed May 16, 2018 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Prime #16-67| Dual Pivot | Ortofon Cadenza Black | ADS | Ayre P-5xe phono preamp, K-5xe preamp, and V-5xe amp | Audio Sensibility Statement SE interconnects and Testament speaker cables | Magneplanar 3.7i | Mapleshade audio rack
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Re: Ortofon Cardenza Bronze v. Cardenza Black – recommendati

Postby fischerd » Wed May 16, 2018 11:14 am

I wouldn't base the merits of the Cadenza Black off of hearing the A95. Though the Cadenza Black is more analytical and neutral vs. the Cadenza Bronze, I wouldn't put it in the same category as the A95 and both are completely different cartridge both in sound and materials. With your Mag speakers, which offers a richer musicality and warmer presentation, you may find the Cadenza Black a better balanced sound for your system if it already leans toward a fuller/warmer presentation. Both would be excellent choices and the Cadenza Black offer significant improvements on detail, spacial presentation (3 dimensionally), timing and rhythm, and many more attributes. But if you can live without the subtle warmth of the Cadenza Bronze, the Cadenza Black seems like a true winner in my opinion. I have a few acquaintances who were struggling with the same decision between the Cadenza Bronze and Black. Those who chose the Black had no buyer's remorse at all. Best of luck, regardless of which cart you go with.
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Re: Ortofon Cardenza Bronze v. Cardenza Black – recommendati

Postby Stringreen » Wed May 16, 2018 2:26 pm

Another way to go is the Winfield.....now that there is a new one (the old one was excellent - better than the Black) it can be had much cheaper.
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Re: Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendati

Postby Beck » Wed May 16, 2018 7:51 pm

fischerd wrote:I wouldn't base the merits of the Cadenza Black off of hearing the A95. Though the Cadenza Black is more analytical and neutral vs. the Cadenza Bronze, I wouldn't put it in the same category as the A95 and both are completely different cartridge both in sound and materials. With your Mag speakers, which offers a richer musicality and warmer presentation, you may find the Cadenza Black a better balanced sound for your system if it already leans toward a fuller/warmer presentation. Both would be excellent choices and the Cadenza Black offer significant improvements on detail, spacial presentation (3 dimensionally), timing and rhythm, and many more attributes. But if you can live without the subtle warmth of the Cadenza Bronze, the Cadenza Black seems like a true winner in my opinion. I have a few acquaintances who were struggling with the same decision between the Cadenza Bronze and Black. Those who chose the Black had no buyer's remorse at all. Best of luck, regardless of which cart you go with.


A fellow VPI owner is letting me audition his Cadenza Bronze. I hope to borrow it this weekend. I appreciate your point how my Maggies already add warmth to my system. I will report back with my decision. I thank everyone for their comments and apologize for the "Cardenza" faux pas.
Prime #16-67| Dual Pivot | Ortofon Cadenza Black | ADS | Ayre P-5xe phono preamp, K-5xe preamp, and V-5xe amp | Audio Sensibility Statement SE interconnects and Testament speaker cables | Magneplanar 3.7i | Mapleshade audio rack
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Re: Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendation

Postby Bob » Wed May 16, 2018 9:44 pm

I actually have a different take on it. I have personally used the Cadenza Bronze and the Cadenza Black. To me, the Black sounds a bit nicer, but only when adjusted perfectly. I have to adjust the VTA based on different record thicknesses to have it sound its best. The Cadenza Bronze, however, is more forgiving. It sounds good within a larger VTA band,so I don't have to adjust the VTA for each different record thickness. Therefore, I use the Cadenza Bronze for demos at shows since it is easier and more forgiving on setup. The Winfeld, to me, has the same issues as the Cadenza Black. When adjusted correctly it sounds great, otherwise, not so great.
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Re: Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendation

Postby Beck » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:53 pm

Last weekend my good friend and fellow VPI owner came over to my house and we demoed his Cadenza Bronze. After the cartridge was properly set up, we spun vinyl. The Bronze was very musical and lacked detail so we quickly knew that was not the cartridge for my system. I ordered and earlier last week had received my new Cadenza Black from Soundstage Direct which gave me a great trade in on an old receiver that I had. We installed and set the cartridge alignment and overhang but got hung up on the SRA which we could not get below 98 degrees even after lowering the VTA and adjusting the tonearm bearing so that the tonearm was as low as it could possibly be without interfering with my dual pivot. I used no washers between the cartridge and the tonearm head. I observed that, although the wand was level that to the platter, the rear of the cartridge was “tail down.” Nonetheless, we spun a few albums and much to my surprise the Black sounded great and I could hear the potential that awaits me. The sound was detailed and had surprisingly good low and high end. I attribute the lack of midrange, depth and dimensionality to the high SRA. Monday I called SSD and spoke to Jay and explained to him my problem. It was my opinion that I had to lower the tonearm arm board and the only way to do that was to get a shorter “puck” that is between the plinth and the arm board. Jay said he would call VPI and then he would call me back which he did a short while later. He said VPI had not heard of my problem and that it wanted to ponder the problem. Jay told me that if VPI did not have a shorter height puck on hand that it could lathe an existing puck for me. I guessed it would need to be somewhere between ¼ and ½ inch lower. I told Jay that I would take some measurements this weekend and call him back. About an hour after our call, Jay called me back telling me that he called Ortofon and told it about my problem. Ortofon told him that the cantilever is stiff and that it needs 50 to 60 hours break in time and that it will relax six degrees or more during the break in period. He said that if I was unhappy with the SRA at the end of that time frame, or even now, I could send the cartridge to him and he would send it to Ortofon which could adjust the cantilever so that I could achieve the proper SRA. I decided and told Jay that I would break in the cartridge and that if after the break in period I am still unhappy with the SRA we can address the problem with Ortofon. Kudos to Jay for the incredible customer service. Tomorrow, I am going to tweak a few things and enjoy then next 50+ hours breaking in the cartridge. I am hoping someone else has thoughts to share. Meantime, I will report my progress.
Prime #16-67| Dual Pivot | Ortofon Cadenza Black | ADS | Ayre P-5xe phono preamp, K-5xe preamp, and V-5xe amp | Audio Sensibility Statement SE interconnects and Testament speaker cables | Magneplanar 3.7i | Mapleshade audio rack
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Re: Ortofon Cadenza Bronze v. Cadenza Black – recommendation

Postby Beck » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:16 pm

Today I reset overhang which was slightly off. Cartridge alignment was fine. I raised the bearing cup half a turn so that I would have more clearance for my DP. Adjusted SRA with my microscope and got it down to 96.44 degrees (give or take at the tenth mark). Adjusted azimuth with my Foz and got it spot on. My test record was Neil Young’s On the Beach and it sounded good. The two degree drop in SRA started to open up the midrange so that my system had a fuller, more balanced sound and it is starting to regain the dimensionality that I had with my Shelter 501 III cartridge. The detail is amazing with crisp cymbals and a tight bass. So far, I am five hours into the cartridge break in.
Prime #16-67| Dual Pivot | Ortofon Cadenza Black | ADS | Ayre P-5xe phono preamp, K-5xe preamp, and V-5xe amp | Audio Sensibility Statement SE interconnects and Testament speaker cables | Magneplanar 3.7i | Mapleshade audio rack
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